What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)?

Lymph Drainage MassageThe Lymphatic therapist uses specific strokes, gentle pressure and knowledge of the lymphatic pathways to drain excess fluid from the injured or damaged area. The hand is used to stretch and release the skin to stimulate absorption of lymph by healthy lymph vessels and to direct excess fluid away from the affected site towards functional networks of lymphatic vessels and nodes.

Following manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) the therapist may also use Complete Decongestive Therapy  (CDT), which includes the use of  compression bandages to prevent the area from refilling;  patient education in proper skin care and demonstration of  specific exercises to promote drainage.

To effect reduction in limb or truncal volume the manual lymphatic therapist must have

  1. excellent knowledge of the lymph pathways and alternate pathways
  2. precise hand technique
  3. extensive knowledge of the appropriate use as well as contraindications for manual lymphatic drainage and application of compressive garments

MLD is also used to support general lymphatic health and optimum immune function. Skillfully applied MLD techniques boost the efficiency of the entire lymphatic system by accelerating the transportation and/or removal of large protein molecules, fat, metabolic wastes, excess water, toxins, bacteria, and foreign substances from body tissues.

People who have survived cancer and cancer treatment only to face a lifelong struggle with lymphedema gain control over their condition when they become partners in the process of managing their lymphedema. The success of lymphatic therapy depends not only on the skill of the therapist but on the trust between therapist and patient. The skilled therapist provides emotional as well as physical support. The patient’s comfort and relaxation are very important in the healing process.

As a lymphatic therapist my goal is to reduce the size and volume of the affected limb or body part in order to minimize discomfort, loss of function and risk of infection. I educate each patient in self care, risk avoidance, good skin hygiene and simple exercises. Where appropriate, I give information about or provide samples of various compression products.

Please contact me by email or phone for more information.